The invite only application, introduced last year, is called Onsite Associates. It takes product guides written by publishers — a list of the coolest air fryers, for example — and includes them among the effects users get after they search Amazon for the “best” of a specific item. Amazon only shows users one guide per search, and if a user adds one of a guide’s listed items to their cart, the writer gets an affiliate fee, very similar to they might from an affiliate link added to content published on their very own sites. In Onsite Associates, the affiliate commissions are paid only for the exact item bought, in place of the complete contents of a customer’s buying groceries cart, which publishers get credit for with a normal affiliate link.
As is right with common affiliate links, the commissions vary depending on product type. Some engaging publishers expressed concerns about the kinds of sites Amazon invited to participate. In addition to issues about rivalry — “It’s going to get saturated ultimately,” one writer said — some said they saw potential for conflicts of attention in one of the most publishers chosen. For example, Amazon searches for “best mattress” reliably happen a guide from Sleepopolis, a site whose parent agency bought Sleepopolis because of a loan from the bed brand Casper Casper is not among the many merchandise listed in Sleepopolis’ guide. One player called Sleepopolis a “slimy” choice for the software.